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USS Spruance (DD-963)

USS Spruance (DD-963)

Spruance was the lead-ship of her class and was commissioned on September 20, 1975, at Pascagoula, Mississippi.  She was named after Admiral Raymond A. Spruance.  Following tests and training exercises, the destroyer departed for cruises to Africa, South America, Mediterranean, and the Middle East, conducting observations on Soviet vessels and diplomatic missions.    Following an overhaul in April 1981, she rescued 17 crewmembers of the Greek freighter Hellenic Carrier after a collision with U.S. barge carrier Lash Atlantica.   

The destroyer deployed numerous times and was ordered in the late 1980s to assist the safe passage of American tankers in the Strait of Hormuz area during the Iran-Iraq War.    Gathering intelligence and monitoring Soviet ships, she also kept track of Iranian vessels as well as identifying merchant and naval shipping.  On January 1991, during Operation Desert Storm, along with USS Virginia (CGN-38) and USS Pittsburgh (SSN-720), Spruance launched Tomahawk missiles at targets in northern Iraq and later joined the multi-national Maritime Interception Force.

In 1994, Spruance participated in operations and evacuated Haitians in Support Democracy and Uphold Restore Democracy.  Following these operations, the destroyer took part in numerous counter-narcotics patrols in the Caribbean, along with deployments to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.   Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, she carried out patrols as part of Operation Noble Eagle off the U.S. coast and in the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.   Spruance was decommissioned in March 2005 and was sunk as a target off the Virginia Capes in December 2006.

A model of USS Spruance was on display in the north end of the Cold War Gallery.